Vintage Kitchen: Frankfurter Pilaf

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Frankfurter Pilaf

Today would have been my grandma's birthday. When I sat down to start working on the Vintage Kitchen series the pop-up alert from my gmail account both startled me with its timing and gave me a happy reminder. My grandma spent a lot of time in the kitchen. She had a recipe box of trusted favorites, but she also had scraps all over the house of something she saw that morning on television and a bookshelf full of her QVC favorites. She didn't welcome very much hands-on help, but many of my favorite childhood memories revolved around sitting at the kitchen table while she tinkered at the counter. Her heart was in the food she prepared for us.

When I rediscovered her recipe box nestled away in my cabinet I knew I needed to do something with it. I needed to find a way to reconnect with those memories. And thus, Vintage Kitchen was born. In this series I will be cooking my way through her recipes, updating them to suit my tastes (I'm not so fond of oleo…) and sharing them here with you. At the end I'm going to take my favorites and self publish a mini-cookbook in celebration of her memory.

Finished Frankfurter Pilaf

Today's recipe? One of my favorite comfort foods, Frankfurter Pilaf. There is very little in this recipe that is particularly healthy, but then again what comfort food is? This rich, buttery dish is reminiscent of fall nights. The weather getting just crisp enough to turn on the fireplace in the family room. It also makes the best leftovers.

2 1/4 cups uncooked rice
1 TBS chicken bouillon concentrate
1 large onion, diced
1/4 cup butter
2 TBS olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 hotdogs (1/2 lb) sliced

Cook rice combining the bouillon concentrate with the water used to simmer said rice. I did this in my trusty rice cooker. While that's simmering, melt the butter and olive oil together in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, stirring occasionally. When the onion has just started to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes, add the garlic. Lower the heat and stir occasionally for another 3-5 minutes. Add the hotdog slices to the pan and cook until heated through. Fold in the cooked rice and remove from the heat.

For a more complete meal, balance the richness with some roasted or steamed broccoli.

Finding My Focus

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Fives

If there's one key thing that I came away from Camp Mighty with, it's focus. The past year has been life-altering and challenging on both a physical and emotional level. I've been in survival mode, just trying to make it through each day. It feels good to admit that, to realize that it's okay. But now I'm ready to refocus, to start building momentum again. With that, the team workshop time at Camp Mighty was golden. What do I want to focus on for the coming year? What do I have to offer? While there is still so much to think about, just those questions started to sharpen my focus.

That brings me to "my fives". The five goals I've chosen to specifically focus on for the coming year. Narrowing my focus was a difficult thing. It meant having to put things in motion, to stop dreaming and start doing. As I sat and wrote I saw a theme emerge. After a year of drastic change, I want to reconnect with my roots. I want to rekindle family relationships and celebrate some of my favorite memories. I want to share what I have to offer, even if that's just a kind word.

1. Send 50 uplifting postcards to strangers.
I am a firm believer that an uplifting and encouraging word can change someone's day. I know I've been on the receiving end of that. Now I want to pay it forward.

2. Dust off my French.
I studied French for eight years and then I fell out of practice. Now's it's time to dust that off and do some serious studying.

3. Cook through my grandma's recipe box.
My grandma passed away four years ago and I've had her recipes nestled in a box and stored away for far too long. Food is one of the ways I connect with people, and I want to reconnect with those happy memories. As I cook through them and update them into my traditions I want to self publish a mini-cookbook to send to my cousins so they can enjoy that connection too.

4. Paint on canvas again.
I took some oil painting classes when I was younger and I loved everything about it. In college I turned that love into studying art history for a few years, but I want to reconnect with the hands-on aspect. And not worry about how it looks, but to do it just for the sheer joy of it.

5. Take a class.
I love to learn. I used to take classes just for fun at the community college ranging from cooking and dance to history and english lectures. Beside the fact that many of those random skills have come in handy, I really miss engaging my mind in that way. Thanks to you I've gathered some awesome resources and I can't wait to dig in.

If you were someone who left a tag on one of my goals, thank you! I will be in touch soon, but know that your enthusiastic response made an impact.

Do you have any goals that you're focusing on right now? Link me to them! I would love to help where I am able, but I also want to cheer you on.

Things You Should Know: I Love to Sketch...

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sketch Book

The lovely Christine from Avenger of Sexiness shared a prompt this morning that's been tumbling around in my mind all day. 'Things You Should Know Thursdays.' The idea is to share a fact about yourself that someone should know if they are going to be your BFF. I have so much love for this idea. For getting to know each other on a deeper level and fostering that wonderful sense of community. In general, I'm pretty open here. My online presence is reflective of who you would meet if we were to be face-to-face. At the same time, this prompt has made me realize just how much of our little quirks that we don't know about each other in lacking that in person interaction. Kicking off this journey to Camp Mighty this seemed like the perfect time to start being a little more vulnerable.

So, what's something you need to know about me if we're going to be BFFs? I love to sketch. I have dozens of half filled sketchbooks dating back to sixth grade. I drew before then, but my interest in art really took off in middle school. Friends and I would swap notes and binders back and forth filled with our favorite cartoon characters. I started taking art classes and those sketchbooks started to be filled more and more with class assignments and techniques (shading in circles was my all time favorite). Now my drawings tend to be little snippets from my day. The pastry I picked up at the coffee shop. The interesting planter on the patio of my favorite cafe. The podium from the conference. None of this is done with skill, but sketching keeps me present and often cheers me up.

One of these days I'd love to start being more intentional about art again and maybe sharing some of my drawings with you. Filling up a sketchbook from start to finish is on my life list after all. I'm still trying to hunt down some of my sketchbooks from my school days because that nostalgia is always fun (and sometimes cringe-inducing). I'll be sure to share if I find where they're stashed away.

What about you? What's something I would know about you if we were BFFs?

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